According to a recent survey, cancer survivors’ depression, feeling of helplessness, and anxiety about employment peaked four years after the onset of cancer.
While the battle with cancer alone involves tremendous physical and mental agony, 3 in 10 cancer patients in Korea feel discriminated at workplace upon their return.
Rep. Yoon Il-kyu of the ruling Democratic Party held a conference at the National Assembly on Monday to promote cancer survivors’ return to work.
The survey, in which 855 cancer survivors participated, reflects the plight they face at workplace. These respondents were willing to return to work or who were working while receiving treatment in April and May.
The respondents’ major physical difficulties included poor physical condition (69.7%), stress management (47%), and weak physical strength (42.1%).
Their psychological issues were mostly as a result of worries about health deterioration again due to work (80.7%), according to the results of the survey conducted by Family Medicine Department of Seoul National University Hospital.
In particular, their depression, feeling of helplessness, and anxiety about employment peaked four years after the onset of cancer.
26% of the respondents said they would not disclose the experience of cancer treatment, as a result of concerns over prejudice and discrimination against cancer survivors.
On the other hand, One in four acquaintances of cancer survivors were negative about cancer survivors’ return to work, and they were most concerned about cancer survivors’ physical limitations.
The most common prejudice the respondents faced was an assumption that they would lose focus on work.
In terms of the most wanted state support policies, the cancer fighters yearn for a longer period for reduced medical burden for people with serious illnesses (74%), enhanced primary care for continued health management (51.3%), support for rehabilitation programs such as exercise and psychotherapy (51.3%), priority support for employment of breadwinners of cancer patients (36.4%), and caregiving support for domestic work at cancer patients’ homes (25.3%).
Cho presented an example in Japan where manuals are provided for labor specialists at companies so that they can help employees with particular diseases and what training they should provide in the workplace.
“Korea needs such education and promotion programs at companies and local governments,” he said.